August 19, 2007 -- "Almost as shocking as the execution-murders of three college students in Newark two weeks ago is the governmental - and moral - paralysis that has informed New Jersey's reaction to the crimes.
On Thursday, Gov. Jon Corzine and Newark Mayor Cory Booker proudly announced yet another crackdown on guns - even though the state already has some of the toughest gun-purchasing laws in the county.
But neither Corzine nor Booker has said nearly enough about the systemic failures that led to the slaughter.
Happily, state Senate President Richard Codey gets it.
He and Attorney General Anne Milgram have launched an investigation into the actions of the Essex County criminal-justice system in its dealings with suspected murderer Jose Larchira Carranza, an illegal alien, over the last 10 months.
* Carranza was first arrested on Oct. 1 after a bar fight and charged with aggravated assault and weapons possession (using a bottle on three men in the fight). The processing judge set bail at $50,000.
Three days later, Judge JoAnne Watson reduced bail to $20,000, with the consent of the Essex County prosecutor's office. After posting $2,000 cash bond, Carranza was set free that day.
* On Jan. 18, he was arrested on 10 counts of aggravated sexual assault of a child, 15 counts of child endangerment and five counts of sexual assault of a child under the age of five.
The same Judge Watson set bail at $200,000.
On Jan. 29, Superior Court Judge John Kennedy reduced bail to $150,000 with the consent of Essex Assistant Prosecutor Dawn Scott.
Carranza posted a $150,000 bond on Feb. 6 and was out the next day.
* On May 3, Carranza was arrested on six counts of aggravated sexual assault on a child, two counts of sexual assault on a four-year-old and one count of endangering the welfare of a child.
Judge Michael Ravin set bail at $300,000.
On May 17, Superior Court Judge Thomas Vena consolidated Carranza's two sexual-abuse cases - and lowered bail to $150,000.
As The Newark Star-Ledger reported, the vacationing Vena dropped by his chambers - with neither defense attorneys nor prosecutors present - to reduce and consolidate the bail.
Having already posted $150,000, Carranza walked without having to put up an additional dime.
Prosecutor Margarita Rivera claims she consented to reducing Carranza's bail to $300,000, not $150,000.
But that's irrelevant.
Through it all, neither Rivera nor Vena saw fit just to revoke bail on a violent felon dangerous to children and the broader community - and in the country illegally, besides.
Indeed, at no time did anyone check Carranza's immigration status.
The case's high profile has sparked a flood of 20/20 hindsight and action. In addition to Milgram's probe, the state's chief justice has tasked a retired judge to review the bail decisions.
Immigration and Customs Enforcement finally placed a "detainer" on the illegal Carranza.
That means he's not going anywhere. - regardless of the trial outcome.
But that raises an entirely different set of issues.
Before the murders, Gov. Corzine requested that Attorney General Milgram draft guidelines for local police jurisdictions to work with federal authorities when dealing with illegal immigrants who commit crimes.
Those regulations are to be completed by the end of the month.
IT's an example of how bad things are across New Jersey that such official rules have to be drafted.
Basic common sense dictates that local cops automatically alert federal authorities if they have an illegal in custody on felony charges.
But Newark thinks differently.
Last October, a City Council resolution, passed 8-0, declared that the city won't inquire of an immigrant's status or deny an illegal any city services. This resolution has caused Newark to be deemed a so-called "sanctuary city."
At a Tuesday press conference, Newark Police Director Garry McCarthy deemed the immigration status of the perpetrators "irrelevant." Booker added, "It's no way the obligation of the city police department to be going around doing the work of [ICE]."
Wonder if the families of the three slain college students think Carranza's status is "irrelevant"?
In what world are McCarthy and Booker living?
When a violent crime has been committed, immigration status is damned "relevant" - if only because immigration charges can keep violent offenders off the streets in the face of New Jersey's ludicrous bail policies.
That's just common sense.
But, as is now evident, common sense is in short supply in the Garden State - and the consequences are tragic.
The bottom line? New Jersey officials believe a gun to be more dangerous than the oft times arrested illegal immigrant who used one, and if any case exposes such stupidity this one does. Because these judges and politicians actually believe that without the tool, the man is redeemed. In the cult that is modern day liberalism, one can be instantly transformed from a law abiding citizen to a heinous felon just by touching so magically charged a talisman.
That's why it is so hard to fight. So difficult to change the minds of these worshipers of injustice. They believe, they really believe that by keeping guns out of the hands of average citizens, alien monsters such as Carranza won't get one either. And forget the facts, the numbers that clearly indicate law abiding citizens do not use firearms to commit crime, because to the cultists that elevates honest people to an elite status, and sin of sins, JUDGES less than law abiding people as being less than equal.
In the mind of the liberal, all men ARE created equal and that means none of them can be trusted with a gun.